On a street corner in Medellín, Colombia, a healthy clean cut man about 30 years old with a 4 year old boy approached me and asked for money. Initially I ignored him because there are many beggars there.
But then my intuition told me to learn more. So I asked my Colombian friend what he said because I didn’t understand some of his words. The dad said he was from Venezuela and he is a refugee trying to start life over.
Right now there are tons of Venezuelans flooding into Colombia because there is no work and a shortage of even the most basic food needs in their country. Venezuela is in a really bad situation and many are leaving because it is the only way to survive.
So I called the dad back. I could see the honesty and desperateness in his eyes. I looked at his son and I saw my son. If you have never wondered where your next meal is coming from, then you can’t understand what I saw in this man’s expression.
I regret not asking more questions and how I can help more. I wanted to know if he had a place to stay and the well being of his kid and wife. But I didn’t think that fast in my shyness to speak Spanish.
So I gave him everything I had in my pocket, $50,000 Colombian pesos. That’s about $20 USD. Not much, but to him, I am sure it was the difference between eating and going hungry again.
Ever since, I have been looking for this man hoping I would bump into him again. He is just trying to put his life back together. He is just trying to make sense of the world he now lives in.
I don’t complain about much in life because I know what real hardship is. I’ve had my own and I’ve seen it in many others. I know that no matter what I might go through, there are many that are dealing with much worse. I know that whatever I might be going through, I will survive and then thrive again.
We don’t have to escape a country in turmoil. We don’t have to take cover when we hear the sound of a missile or gunfire flying overhead. We are not homeless walking the streets not knowing if we will be able to feed our child. We don’t have to worry about going into the supermarket and seeing the shelves empty or bread costing a week’s salary. We don’t have to worry about our currency plummeting in value by the day.
In general, we don’t have significant problems we have to deal with. In general, we don’t live in constant fear of being killed or how we will eat.
You may be having a challenge. Life may be knocking you down at the moment. But don’t you dare complain. Lift your head up and face your challenge. Because you are still better off than 80% of the world’s population that lives on under $10 USD a day without access to safe water or any medical care.
When life knocks you down, you get back up and keep moving forward. Keep your eye on your goal. Be grateful for the struggle because the struggle is exactly what you need to grow into the person you need to become. Is it fair? Probably not, but it is your journey, so own it with gratitude and then go turn into an amazing success story.
And if you see someone in a struggle, reach out and help them up. It’s how we make this world better, one small contribution at a time.
In humble gratitude,
This experience happened to me about 18 months ago. And now all of us are dealing with significant uncertainty in this pandemic. Something I have discovered to be true … This too shall pass. You have the strength and ability to make it through this and be stronger on the other side. Keep the faith, stay strong, and keep moving towards a better tomorrow.
Life Transformation and Peak Performance Expert, author, professional speaker, and global traveler. Croix is the Author of Dream Big Act Big, Dream Big Life Planner, Morning Manifestation, and the host of the Zen Warrior Podcast. He travels full time living the speaker and laptop lifestyle living part time in Costa Rica and wherever he feels like experiencing.